Lockdown update

I haven’t done any research and haven’t published any posts, lately. Duh, that’s quite obvious! And yet, now that I have more free time during the total lockdown here in Italy, you’d think I’d be on the computer all the time, looking up stuff. No, not really happening. Simply put, I just don’t feel like it. I’ve been doing other things instead.

Before continuing, I should state that I COMPLETELY support the coronavirus-caused lockdown, and I think the Italian government has done an excellent job, given the circumstances, which were (and are) extremely difficult.

However, this month and a half or so (I’ve almost lost count…) of staying at home has taken its toll on me, as it has on everyone, of course. I shouldn’t complain, though. Stefano and I live in a big row-house with a garden in the front and a bigger one in the back. We have plenty of space, and our neighborhood is very pretty and very green. And we have friendly, helpful neighbor. Many people, though, including some good friends of mine, aren’t that lucky. A couple of my friends live in a room in a shared apartment. Others have small children who haven’t been outside during the entire lockdown. So yes, it’s been hard on everyone, on some more than others…especially hard, of course, on the Covid-19 patients, on their families, on the medical workers, many of whom have lost their lives…Absolutely horrifying…

Oh boy, it all happened so fast, or so it seems. I mean, in mid February Stefano and I were in Paris, where life was proceeding as usual…No sign of coronavirus anywhere. In the Musée d’Orsay and at the Louvre, I noticed only a couple of people wearing disposable face masks.

Stefano and I had left Italy only with our neck warmers, which we used as “face masks” (I have since realized that they gave us almost zero protection, but at the time it was the best we had…). I did finally manage to find, in a pharmacy in Paris, a few disposable masks, which we didn’t wear because nobody else was (silly, I know…but back then, who knew???). I should mention that I went into a lot of Parisian pharmacies and was informed that they were sold out of face masks. At that point, alarm bells should have started ringing in my head. They didn’t.

And then a friend back in Florence texted me about the death of the first French (actually, the first EUROPEAN) Covid-19 patient, a Chinese tourist, IN PARIS. The alarm bells should have deafened me at that point. They still didn’t. I remember that I was sitting down in the Louvre when I read her message, closely surrounded by hundreds of “maskless” people from all over the world. Boy, shivers go down my back when I remember that…And Stefano and I didn’t have masks on, either…sheesh. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Anyway, we didn’t really give much of a thought to coronavirus until we returned to Florence on February 16. As soon as we landed, we noticed that the airport was plastered with posters and leaflets warning about coronavirus, and a couple of medical workers in full protective gear took our temperature before allowing us to go through the exit doors. Okay, that was a bit scary, I admit…

But even then, I was still…unaware. Then again, so were most Italians. This couldn’t be happening here, to us, right? All the shops and restaurants were still open, and people were going about their business while infecting themselves and others, without knowing it, of course.

Things were about to change, though: just a few days after we returned from Paris, on February 21, the first Italian Covid-19 patient, a 78-year-old man who was already in hospital, died, in the northern region of Veneto…Still, no bells…not really. Again, stupid stupid stupid.

I met with my girlfriends to play cards the week after we got back from Paris. One of my girlfriends was wearing a face mask she’d bought during a trip to Japan. We made fun of it (I recently apologized to her…). I’d read that masks didn’t offer any protection, and besides, it was just the four of us, and WE couldn’t possibly be infected, right? Of course, since then, my opinion has really changed! Nobody is safe…nobody.

Well, that was my last outing. I finally became alarmed at the numbers of people flooding the ICUs in Lombardy and Veneto…and dying. I put myself in full lockdown well before the Italian government shut down the entire country.

About a week or so before the announcement of the lockdown (= March 10) I began stockpiling cat food and cat litter…Isn’t it funny that I thought of the kitties first? Hah. I also bought quite a lot of non-perishable human food…pasta and whatnot. And, yes, toilet paper. I’m sooooo glad I trusted my gut instinct because, on March 10, things went absolutely crazy here…long queues in front of supermarkets, some basic food supplies running short, etc. At one point, it was impossible to find any FLOUR…and then YEAST (it’s still impossible to find any yeast, except at my house, of course)…

Because of my compromised immune system and my asthma, it would have been incredibly dangerous for me to go stand in a queue. It still would  be, of course…Luckily, I don’t have to worry about that, thanks to my foresight and to grocery stores that deliver food right to our front door. As for Stefano, oh boy, I was so relieved, incredibly relieved!!!, when he began “smart-working” from home on March 10.

In fact, this is the only “benefit” of the lockdown–we’re able to spend more time together. In our spare time, we watch TV series, cook wonderful meals (I married an excellent cook!!!), work in the garden, and play games. We do lots of things to keep ourselves busy, even spring cleaning (zzzz).

Luckily, things are getting better over here in Italy. After reaching a plateau, the curve is on a downward trend. As a result, some of the lockdown restrictions have been lifted, and the total lockdown should be ending on May 4, if all goes well. But I’m afraid that it still won’t be over for a while, unfortunately.

Even when the number of infected people goes down to ZERO, we will still have to wear masks and face shields and take all the precautions we have been taking thus far (washing hands, social distancing, etc.). Incidentally, after the stupid risks we took in Paris (shivers down my back, again)–that is, not wearing masks because nobody else was–I will be wearing a face shield AND a mask when I start leaving the house.

Must stay safe.

I have to admit that my usual optimistic self has been hard hit by the coronavirus, and that is probably why I don’t feel like doing any research or writing (oh, hey, but I AM writing right now, and quite a bit, too…how about that? My initial idea was to write a brief post, hahahaha!).

Well, let’s get through this first wave of Covid-19 and see what happens and how things go…

Sorry about this long, probably very repetitive, ranting post. I’m going to go ahead and publish it anyway…No time to do some editing…it’s time for lunch…Oh, and that’s the other thing: we are eating and eating and eating. Stefano and I have both gained about 4 kilos, which is almost 9 pounds. Stefano has hidden the scales. 🙂

Much love to everyone, and please stay safe…And the only way to do that is to:

STAY AT HOME!!!